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Dana White addresses why he didn’t put title around Francis Ngannou’s waist after UFC 270 – MMA Root

Dana White addresses why he didn’t put title around Francis Ngannou’s waist after UFC 270

Dana White said there was no conspiracy behind his disappearance after Francis Ngannou defeated Cyril Gein to defend his UFC 270 main event title.

UFC matchup Mick Maynard was the man who put the belt around Ngannou’s waist on Saturday night after the heavyweight champion’s unanimous decision victory, a duty that normally fell to the UFC president. White then missed the post-fight press conference as well as his regular post-fight interviews with UFC broadcast partners.

During a fan Q&A session on ESPN+ on Wednesday, White explained why he wasn’t there to congratulate Ngannou on his win.

“I wasn’t at the main event – I actually walked out of the arena right after the co-main event because there was something going on backstage that I was dealing with,” White said.

“For anyone to think that I’m being disrespectful to Francis in any way – I’ve been seeing Francis all week, you idiots. I shook his hand, I said hello to him, I was there to watch, all of that.”

White’s absence was particularly noticeable due to Ngannou’s controversial status in the UFC after he was unable to negotiate a new deal with the promotion.

The champion clause is expected to keep Ngannou tied to the UFC until December, but at this point, Ngannou’s team believes the champion will become an unrestricted free agent.

In addition, manager Ngannou Markel Martin received a letter from the UFC just hours before UFC 270 threatening potential legal action over alleged contact with Jake Paul’s business partner, Nikisa Bidarian.

However, White said it would be wrong to assume that he is leaving the arena simply to ignore Ngannou.

“For anyone to think that there was any disrespect shown to Francis, I was not there for Michael Bisping. [vs. Luke] Rockhold either because I dealt with certain things,” White said. “I ran from behind, I didn’t even have a jacket on. I had only a shirt on so I could go out and put the belt on Bisping. But I couldn’t get there to put the belt on Francis.

“Only once did I walk out of a fight and make it clear, come to a press conference and say that’s why I left. It was in Abu Dhabi with Anderson Silva. [at UFC 112], it was a fight with Demian Maia. Here is the answer. I don’t know if anyone asked about it, but someone wanted to. Here you go”.

For his part, Ngannou didn’t seem to care too much that White wasn’t there to present him with the heavyweight title.

“It was a huge honor for me to receive the belt from Mick Maynard,” Ngannou wrote on Instagram. “There can be no better person. Love this man.”

Because White wasn’t at the press conference, he also didn’t talk about Ngannou’s post-UFC 270 performance — a performance in which Ngannou relied on his wrestling many times to take down Gan to secure a unanimous decision.

White praised Ngannou for the surprise attack, which he is sure Gein did not expect.

“I think the main heavyweight fight was a shock,” White said. “I don’t think anyone expected Francis to come and fight. During the fight I was very surprised [by Ngannou’s game plan]. After the fight, it was brilliant.

“It was genius for him to work on his wrestling. I guarantee you – I don’t really know this – but I guarantee you that Cyril Gein barely fought to prepare for this fight. So coming in and implementing the game plan he had was brilliant.”

White has not spoken about UFC future plans for Ngannou, although the reigning heavyweight champion will likely be out until the end of 2022 – with or without a new contract – as he plans to undergo surgery on his severely injured knee later this year. . He is expected to miss nine or ten months due to the injury.

If Ngannou ends up negotiating a new deal with the UFC, White said a possible superfight against former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones would appeal to fans.

“I think another big fight, if possible, will be between Jon Jones and Francis,” White said, referring to the matches fans are most eager to see.

Jones has been teasing a move up to heavyweight for almost two years, but if he waits for Ngannou, he will likely sit out until at least 2023 while the champ recovers from knee surgery.